July 24, 2016

The Best Pop-Punk Albums You Slept On

As far as the general public is concerned, pop-punk is still a nostalgia driven genre that hasn’t produced anything noteworthy in quite some time. As far as people who avidly follow the genre are concerned, The Wonder Years, Neck Deep, State Champs, and Knuckle Puck are the greatest thing to happen to the genre since Blink-182. So, what about all those unsigned artists who pour everything they have into getting records produce and still don’t get the attention they deserve? This piece will touch on some of my favorite albums of the last 4 years that I’m sure genre fans will enjoy immensely.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 

1

Lost Years – This Year Brought Out The Worst In Me (2012)

Who doesn’t love a bit of pop-punk with some grit? Lost Years has been consistently churning out gold since they debuted this album in 2012. The music hits hard behind their devastatingly emotional lyrics. The first minute of “Ghosts” shows what Lost Years is capable of with rousing guitar riffs and some playful double bass fills. The result is an incredibly catchy tune with some poignant lyrics about being on death’s doorsteps. “Record Players & Living Rooms” & “This Summer” are straight jams. The intro’s drag you in with some snappy guitar hooks and keep you humbled with the melodies. Lost Year’s This Year Brought Out The Worst In Me is a bold debut in it’s own unapologetic way.

Where are they now?

Still producing jams in Gary, Indiana, Lost Years continues to do what they love. Their sophomore effort, Traditions, is equally impressive and don’t skip out on Acoustic Renditions album too.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 

4

The Old Line – Wasting Time At Sea (2013)

Anyone clamoring for something reminiscent of early 2000’s pop-punk need look no further. Wasting Time At Sea brings all the best melodies and hooks of that time period to life with this electric album. There’s a lot to appreciate about the earnest sounds of this record. It utilizes guest vocals and acoustic guitars brilliantly behind some truly well-written lyrics. The album’s storytelling is rich and mature with some perfect prog-rock style dual vocalists. “Would You Kindly” is an inspiring acoustic-rock track with poignant lyrics while “Annapolis” & “Derailed” boost some of the catchiest choruses on the album. Each of the fantastically produced 12 tracks have something unique to offer anyone who’s a fan of the genre.

Where are they now?

With the exception of a single in mid 2014, The Old Line has remained quiet. I’m patiently waiting for any updates on the future of the band because this record is too good not to have a follow up.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 

2

We Still Dream – Something To Smile About (2013)

This is a band that was largely slept on in the early stages of the decade. Powered by Dustin Monk’s mesmerizing vocals and heartfelt lyrics, We Still Dream pumped out two stellar pop-punk records that border a bit more on the punk side. Something To Smile About represents a turning point in the band’s progression as it brought out poppier melodies and rather uplifting lyrics. “Things You Do” is that heartfelt love track that’s easy to sing to your loved one and “Sanity” is a pivotal song for anyone coping with depression. My personal favorite track, “Back To Then,” is etched in nostalgia and tugs at our memories of simpler times. We Still Dream represents the best side of pop-punk with blazing guitars and precision drums. They offer a lot to those looking for something special in the genre.

Where are they now?

The band called it quits in 2014 and went their separate ways. You can find members in Heart To Heart and vocalist Dustin Monk made an appearance on NBC’s “The Voice” while focusing on his solo career.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 

5

Broadway Calls – Comfort/Distraction (2013)

For anyone missing the old-school Green Day vibe, Broadway Calls has this sound down to a science. This Portland trio brings you everything you’d want in an old-school pop-punk fashion: groovy bass lines, politically charged anthems and grungy vocals to start with. Broadway Calls possesses the unique ability to switch from “fun” to “listen up” in an instant. “Bring On The Storm” lives up to its title as it powers its way to a delectable chorus and builds up all the energy you need to keep listening. Their consistency in producing quality records is astonishing. I highly recommend looking at their first two albums as well. This band will continue to be one of the most overlooked in the genre.

Where are they now?

While touring sporadically for the past few years, they recently announced a West Coast tour this fall with Success. Do yourself a favor and see them on tour and help give this band the attention they rightfully deserve.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 

3

Giants At Large – The American Dream Is Dead (2015)

With a new alternative sound, Giants At Large released The American Dream is Dead last summer for free on Bandcamp. It’s impressive how much Giants At Large grows with each release. Despite genre shifting from a pure pop-punk style, their newfound alternative sound doesn’t feel jarring at all and still packs a walloping punch with vocalist Matt Lagattuta and drummer CJ Kostaras running the reins. The title track “The American Dream Is Dead” kicks off with the album with a lot of soul and energy. The album wraps up with a couple emotionally charged slow jams that are sure to tug the right heartstrings.

Where are they now?

The band has been hard at work with new material and the newest band members Chris Regan & Andrew Bilder as they aim to put out their favorite tracks yet. Keep an eye out for these guys.

Written by: Patrick Marion

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